Thursday, April 29, 2010

Repurposed Meat Loaf

Since no one really enjoyed the meat loaf I made a few nights ago, I wasn't too excited about serving the left overs for supper last night.  That is, until I came up with an idea that would transform the meat loaf into something we could all enjoy- spaghetti.  The meat loaf was basically just a big meatball, so why not make it into spaghetti?  I wasn't fully convinced that I could magically transform the meat loaf into something we liked, but it was the best idea I had.

We didn't have any spaghetti, so I used the whole wheat shells we had in the pantry.  I added two cans of tomato sauce to the rest of the meat loaf sauce to make the sauce for my pasta.  After simmering that for 20 minutes, I stirred in the crumbled up meat loaf and heated it through.

This made a flavorful, slightly spicy sauce for pasta that we all enjoyed eating.  (Jacob has been such a picky eater recently, so I was really glad he ate the pasta.)  Supper was saved!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meat Loaf

I saw this meat loaf recipe in Treebeard's cookbook and thought it might be really great.  But, it was just meat loaf.  As meat loaf goes, I guess it was pretty good.  It was moist and spicy.  And, the sauce was good.  Jacob wouldn't touch any of the meal.  Art made no comments, so I can only assume it wasn't his favorite.

Meat Loaf:
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tab chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9x5" loaf pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Pat into prepared pan.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

2 Tab minced garlic
4 tsp olive oil
1 18 oz can peeled tomatoes
4 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

In small skillet, saute garlic in oil for 1 minute.  In food processor, combine garlic, oil, peeled tomatoes, and spices.  Pulse until tomatoes are in small pieces.  Transfer to 2 quart saucepan and simmer 20 minutes.  Pour sauce over meat loaf to serve.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mexican Casserole

I made a version of a casserole recipe I found on Cooking Light's website.  It was basically nachos baked in a casserole dish.  I really liked it.  I think Jacob was too full from snacking on the chips to fully appreciate it.  I plan for us to have it again tonight- I'm not sure how the chips will be left over.

I read the reviews and made a few changes to the recipe.  I am pretty sure my changes negated most of the "light" traditionally associated with recipes from Cooking Light magazine.  But, I did still use the meatless crumbles.  They were much better than I expected.  I really couldn't tell any difference between those and real ground beef.

Here is the version I made.


  • 4  Tab canola oil, divided
  • 1  chopped onion
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1  teaspoon  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (12-ounce) package meatless fat-free crumbles (such as Lightlife Smart Ground)
  • 48  tortilla chips
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  (15-ounce) can refried beans
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 2  cans diced tomatoes
    • 1 1/2  cups  shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  fat-free sour cream

  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and jalapeño; cook 1 minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and crumbles; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Arrange half of tortilla chips in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top evenly with crumbles mixture.
3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium heat. Add beans, cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring constantly. Stir in lime juice.
4. Layer beans and tomatoes over crumbles mixture in dish. Top with remaining tortilla chips, pressing to slightly crush. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 375° for 13 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Cut casserole into 6 equal pieces; top each serving with 1 teaspoon sour cream.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chicken in Curry

My mom was in town over the weekend and we had a great time hanging out with her.  Jacob loves his Nana.

For supper Friday night I made chicken breast in curry from Treebeard's cookbook.  I was really surprised by the simplicity of the dish- from the ingredients to the prep.  It turned out great.  I think this is my new favorite recipe from the Treebeard's cookbook.

I served the chicken with broccoli and fried rice.

4 chicken breast  halves
1 Tab curry powder
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dijon mustard

Place chicken skin side down in a shallow baking dish.  Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over chicken, turn to coat, turn again.  Cover dish tightly and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, turn chicken skin side up and cover dish with foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes, basting chicken with drippings periodically.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Salmon Patties and Broccoli

I made pan-roasted broccoli and salmon patties with cheese sauce for our supper.  The meal tasted great but made the kitchen smell awful- fish and broccoli are both pretty stinky foods.

I based the recipe for salmon patties on one in Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  The patties are easily made with basic pantry staples and taste awesome.  I think my favorite part is the cheese sauce.  The first time I made them, I was wary of cheese on salmon.  But, the combination is really good.  The cheese sauce also went really well on the broccoli.  

The recipe only makes three patties, so double or triple it if you are cooking for more than two people.

1 egg white, beaten
2 Tab milk
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 73/4 oz can flaked boneless skinless salmon, drained
1/4 cup crushed wheat crackers (I used wheat thins)
1 Tab canola oil
1 Tab butter
2 tsp milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl combine the egg white, milk, dill, and 1/8 tsp pepper.  Add salmon and crackers.  Mix well.  Form mixture into 3 patties.  In a large skillet, cook patties in hot oil over medium-low heat about 6 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once.  Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
For cheese sauce:  in a small pan, melt butter.  Stir in flour and a dash of pepper.  Add milk all at once.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir 1 more minute.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted.  Serve with patties.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Tonight, we ate left over lasagna from last night's supper.  We always love lasagna.  Well, Jacob loved it last night- not so much tonight.

Our microwave has been broken for a week.  (By some strange coincidence, it stopped working the day Jacob pulled it off the counter...)  So, I have been heating leftovers on the stove or in the oven.  If any of you have a recommendation for a good one, please let me know.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moroccan Chicken, Couscous, Green Beans, and Strawberry Shortcake

Tonight, we were planning to have some friends over for dinner.  But, since we didn't want to share Jacob's cold with our friends' kid, we had to cancel.  Even though they couldn't join us, we still had a good supper.  I made our old favorites Moroccan chicken and roasted green beans.

I also made apricot and pistachio couscous.  This couscous is very flavorful and is even better with a bit of the chicken pan drippings spooned over the top.  I usually omit the olives called for in the recipe because Art has always hated them.  However, he recently discovered that he no longer hates them, so I will have to add the olives next time I make this.

For dessert, I made strawberry shortcakes from Treebeard's cookbook.  Instead of making the filling called for in the recipe, I just sliced some strawberries and tossed them with 1 Tab of sugar.  Because of this-I think- the shortcake was a little dry.  I think that could have been improved by the juicy filling.  I'll know next time...  Otherwise, the dessert was great.  The whipped cream has a small amount of sour cream whipped in that goes really well with the strawberries.


2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tab baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tab packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 tsp sugar, divided
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
With knife blade attachment on food processor, process flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, butter and 2 tsp sugar until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Pour mixture into medium bowl.  Add milk and mix just until it forms a smooth dough.
Scoop dough onto greased cookie sheet in 6 equal mounds.  Dust top of shortcakes with 2 tsp sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.

1 quart strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, mash one half of berries.  Mix with sugar and vanilla.  Refrigerate 1 hour.

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream

Beat the cream with the sugars and vanilla just until it holds soft peaks.  Add sour cream and beat mixture until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble:  Cut tops off shortcakes and set aside.  Spoon filling onto bottom of each shortcake.  Cover with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.  Replace tops.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cheese Quesadillas, Mashed Pinto Beans, and Guacamole

I am still making simple meals because I am still tired and lazy.  On a recent walk around the neighborhood with Jacob (an activity we do several times every day), I seriously considered sitting down on the sidewalk.  My fear of what the neighbors would think was the only reason I kept going.

Last night, I made some hand mashed pinto beans, guacamole, and cheese quesadillas.  Quesadillas are about the easiest thing I know to make.  Art and I enjoyed the meal.  Jacob wouldn't touch any of it.  All he wanted was Cheerios.  After surveying the offerings on the table, he went and retrieved them from the cabinet.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shells and Cheese

Jacob and I both ate like toddlers for supper last night.  We had shells and cheese and sauteed peas.  It was great!

I made the shells and cheese based on a recipe in Whole Foods for the Whole Family.  The cheese sauce was the perfect combination of cheesy and creamy.  Jacob and I ate almost all of it.

1 Tab butter
1 1/2 tsp corn starch
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese (I used 1/2 cup monterey jack and 1 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar)
1 Tab sour cream
1 egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat small shells, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter, in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Stir in corn starch until smooth.  Off heat, stir in milk until smooth.  Return to heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cheese until smooth.  Stir in sour cream and egg.  Stir in pasta.
Butter a small, oven proof dish.  Spread shells and cheese into dish and cover with foil.  Bake 20 minutes.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Tonight, Jacob willingly ate something other than Goldfish for the first time since Friday.  I'm not sure if the falafel was that good or if he finally had to give in to his hunger.

I found a recipe for baked falafel in Parents magazine.  This falafel was baked in the oven instead of fried. On pita with the yogurt sauce, the falafel was pretty good.  Alone, it seemed dry and somewhat bland.  Mashing the beans with the other ingredients seemed like it could have been done more easily and effectively in a food processor.

1 15oz can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup shredded carrots
3 Tab sesame tahini
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tab flour
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tab olive oil or cooking spray
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 Tab lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Rinse and drain garbanzo beans.  Mash together with carrot, flour, 1 Tab water, 2 Tab tahini, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Grease a cookie sheet.  Shape mixture into 16 patties the size of a half dollar.  Place on cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy, turning once.
In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, 1 Tab tahini, and lemon juice.
Serve falafel on pita with yogurt sauce and fresh veggies.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Last night we had chicken enchiladas with a home-made green salsa.  This is a healthy recipe- the enchiladas aren't swimming in cheese (although, I did use twice the amount of cheese called for in the recipe) and the salsa isn't loaded with sodium. 

A blender made the salsa prep quick.  The flavor was intense but not overly spicy.  Thinned sour cream drizzled on top of the enchiladas paired perfectly with the salsa. 

Art and I really liked these.  Jacob wouldn't even try a bite.  Maybe he will like the left overs tonight. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

Yesterday morning, I made red beans in a crock pot for last night's supper.  It made a ton of beans and was tasty.   The dish took about 15 minutes to put together in the crock pot.  (I love crock pot suppers!)  Because I knew supper would be ready when we were, Jacob and I were able to play outside for a bit longer than usual last night.  I cooked some rice in the rice cooker just before we were ready to eat.

Since I didn't have any on hand, I made my own Creole seasoning.  This made about 1/4 cup of seasoning, so I have some left over for the next time I make red beans and rice.

1 1/4 tsp paprika
1 Tab salt
1 Tab garlic powder
1/2 Tab black pepper
1 Tab cayenne pepper
1 Tab oregano
1 Tab thyme
1/2 tsp celery seeds

Stir together all ingredients. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pea and Mint Soup and Pizza

Supper last night was very veggie intensive with pea soup and veggie pizza. 

I made a pea soup recipe from bon Appetit.  The soup was really simple to make and had a short ingredient list.  The mint made it very refreshing.  Art thought it would be good cold.  We have left overs, so I guess we can find out.

I also made oatmeal crust pizza.  I topped it with sauce, shredded zucchini, roasted yellow pepper, and cheese. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Naan Recipe

We have been eating leftovers from our Indian food.  I have mentioned making naan in several previous posts, but I have never given my recipe.  I based my recipe off of one I found online and have loved it.  The dough is easily made from simple ingredients and the naan is easy to roll out and cook. 

1 pkg yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar, divided
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 egg, beaten
3 Tab milk
2 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 Tab of sugar for about 8 minutes, or until foamy.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Knead for 6-8 minutes.  (Or, use the dough hook of a stand mixer.)  If dough seems very dry, add warm water by Tablespoonfuls until desired consistency is reached.
Turn dough out into an oiled bowl.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. 
Punch down dough.  Pinch off into golf ball size pieces and place on a baking sheet.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes. 
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into thin disk.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Place dough disk on skillet and cook until it starts to form bubbles.  Flip and cook until browned on both sides. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Indian Feast

We had some friends over for supper who happen to be vegetarians.  So, a traditional Easter menu was out of the question.  I decided to make Indian food.  We had paneer curry, dahl, basmati rice, and naan. 

I found a recipe for paneer curry in the April issue of bon Appetit.  I had paneer for the first time a few years ago at an Indian neighbor's party.  (Paneer is a fresh cow's milk cheese that has a firm, creamy texture that pairs perfectly with a spicy sauce.)  It was amazing and I have wanted to make something with it ever since.  

Yesterday, I learned that the most convenient paneer vendor for me is an Indian restaurant near my house.  They only sold paneer in 4lb blocks, so I have plenty in the freezer to use later.  I am excited because I loved this recipe!  The taste was great and it was fairly easy to make. 

I made a bunny shaped cake for dessert. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mediterranean Feast

The last few days have left me feeling tired and lazy- I think this pregnancy is starting to catch up with me.  While I do love to cook, I have a hard time finding energy at the end of the day to do anything other than sit with my feet propped up.  But my desire to eat propels me to cook, and my toddler propels me to feed him, play, bathe him, and not sit down for more than 2 seconds.

Supper tonight was a perfect meal for a lazy cook- it was virtually effortless and very delicious.  We had hummus, tabouli, pita, feta cheese, olives, and spinach.  The hummus was made earlier this week.  This afternoon, I quickly made the tabouli and put it in the refrigerator to let the flavors intensify.  When we were ready to eat supper, I just took everything from the refrigerator and put it on the table.

We combined the ingredients (hummus, tabouli, feta, olives, and spinach) on pita bread to make sandwiches.  The individual ingredients were each delicious, but the flavors combined were amazing.  We all really liked this meal.  I liked not spending a ton of time in the kitchen.    

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Marinated Chicken Tenders and The Grove Grill

Art and I went out with some of his co-workers last night to The Grove Grill.  Almost all of us got the shrimp and grits.  They were so rich and yummy.

Jacob got to stay at home and play with the baby sitter.  Before we went out, I fixed him some oven-baked chicken and sauteed peas for his supper.  He seemed to enjoy both.  I marinated some boneless, skinless chicken tenders in olive oil and balsamic vinegar salad dressing with a minced garlic clove for about 1 hour.  Then, I baked the tenders in the marinade at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. 

I'm glad Jacob liked the supper because we are going out again tonight and he gets to stay home and eat leftovers.